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We are dedicated to providing the best quality driving school services in Sarasota & Manatee county.





Suncoast Defensive Driving School is dedicated to providing the very best quality In-Car Instruction throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties. We specialize in defensive driving techniques. In simple terms, defensive driving means identifying potential hazards before they become immediate hazards.


“I had to take an ‘extended’ driving test because of an accident, my age (80) and medical issues…. I took two lessons with Robert where we went onto the actual course where the test is given and we went through the entire test, step by step. Robert assured me that this will be the exact test that I will be taking. He gave me some great tips that increased by confidence significantly….When I took the test, I was amazed that every single thing that Robert told me would be on the test was exactly the way he said. After the first test was completed, the examiner, Duane. said ‘You did very well. You’ve taken instruction haven’t you?’ After I got a perfect score on the second go round, Duane said, ‘I’ll bet you took instruction from Suncoast. He said my driving mannerisms reflected the technique taught by Suncoast. Passing the test was a necessity for me. If you fail an extended test in Sarasota, you have to wait at least six weeks to take a re-test. Being without a car would be a considerable hardship…. However, it worked out beautifully and I have Robert to thank for his wisdom and confidence building.” [10/2/2017]

“We cannot say enough about our experience with Suncoast Defensive Driving School. My daughter had Mary for her instructor and she is everything you would want for your teen driver! She was incredibly kind, professional, patient, knowledgeable and above all an amazing instructor. She helped my daughter to feel so confident in her driving skills. Cannot say enough about what a positive experience we had with Mary! Thank you Mary!!” [7/26/2017]

“Just a note to say that Mary Wicks, my instructor is tops. She is caring, knowledgeable, and most of all ‘there for you’. Thanks Mary for your help and encouragement.” [12/30/2016]

“I hired Bill to teach both my children. He is excellent and helped them feel confident and to be safe behind the wheel. They passed their driving tests easily the first time.” [12/19/2016]

“I just got my driver’s license today! Yeaaah! I have been trained by Bill and Arlene. They are both amazing instructors! They teached me how to behave safely on the road and they gave me very useful advices in order to pass successfully my driving test. Thank you Suncoast Defensive Driving School! Doubtless, the best driving school in Sarasota-Manatee County.” [5/12/2016]

“As a senior driver I was becoming phobic about certain strange conditions (left curves and road surfaces). This phobia was growing worse and was certain to limit my ability to drive and to be independent. It was my good fortune to have picked up the phone to call Suncoast Defensive Driving School and its owner, Bill Rowell. I had determined that it was a mental rather than a physical condition. Bill queried me appropriately and then set up some tests and lessons. His calm and assured manner combined with his supportive assistance as well as his obvious expertise helped me get back on the road with confidence.” [5/10/2016]

“Bill was amazing! He was so calm and always corrected any mistake that I made. I passed on the first try and got my license! Highly recommend.” [3/28/2016]

“Suncoast Defensive Driving School was an excellent source for my daughter to begin driving. Bill was a superb instructor. I would highly recommend this company.” [11/24/2015]

“I am in my forties and I had a fear of driving when I began my lessons. Arlene however helped me overcome my fear. She showed great patience and understanding. Arlene’s positive reinforcement and encouragement helped me build my skills and confidence as a driver. In the end, I was able to pass my practical test with a perfect score. I am forever thankful to Arlene and highly recommend her as an instructor. I also very much enjoyed our conversations.” [11/15/2015]

“I really enjoyed my lessons with Suncoast Defensive Driving.” [10/12/2015]

AAA Approved Driving School

aaa approved driving schoolSuncoast Defensive Driving School has met and surpassed all requirements of the AAA Approved Driving School program.  This insures all students will receive the very best in driver training, curriculum, vehicles, customer service and community reputation.

As the area’s exclusive AAA Approved School, we are pleased to offer a 30 hour home correspondence driver education program utilizing the AAA How To Drive manual. Together with our in-car training, this program provides equivalent classroom time to public school programs, with the convenience of home based study and the advantage of private in-car instruction. For home schooling families, this course exceeds the standards from the Florida Department of Education for Driver Education and qualifies for a .5 school credit.

Teen Defensive Driving

Florida's Suncoast Defensive Driving School is dedicated to providing top quality In-Car Instruction. SDDS specializes in defensive driving techniques for for Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice areas.Suncoast Defensive Driving School wants the family to know our purpose. We strongly encourage parental involvement with our young students. The Team Concept encompasses private defensive driver instruction coupled with frequent practice at home. Our instructors will meet with parents during the driving course for progress reports and suggestions.

Our one on one professional training courses yield superior results over public programs and are a vital start to driver safety. However, a course is still not enough time behind the wheel for new drivers. The state of Florida’s requirement of 50 hours of supervised driving for teen drivers under the age of 18 years is extremely important.

Interactive Driver Training

teensmartAll course levels will include a training video as well as an interactive CD-ROM. Suncoast Defensive Driving School proudly offers the new teenSMART Crash Avoidance Program for teens and parents. Initially developed for the insurance industry to reduce claims, we are proud to offer this proven and effective training program. Allstate and AAA insurance companies offer discounts for teenSMART certified graduates. Consult your insurance carrier for possible discounts.

Senior Driving Program

Senior Driving ProgramSuncoast Defensive Driving School offers the most comprehensive Senior Driving Program in Sarasota and Manatee counties, designed to assist seniors to drive safely longer.

Our program addresses significant and sometimes emotional challenges involving the senior driver. We will assist senior drivers to recognize their changing skills and adapt their driving practices appropriately. The program is designed to identify and assess potential impairments in older drivers. If necessary, we will then provide guidance as to whether driving should be continued unrestricted, with some limitations or discontinued completely due to erosion of basic skills or health issues. Our program will help the driver, family members, friends and doctors who have concerns about driver fitness and safety.

AAA Roadwise Review™, a state-of-the-art computer-based screening tool, is now part of the Adult Road Refresher Program. The computer program and a 1 hour driving session are completed privately at your location. Upon completion, you will receive feedback and suggestions through a computer printout and in car evaluation. All information is private and confidential.


Business Partners

aaa approved
AAA Keys2Drive
Green Business Partnership

Memberships and Certifications

Certified by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles
Certified by the
Member of the Driving Schools Association of the Americas
Member of the